First Republic Bank, an independent bank with a brand built on customer-service, announced Tuesday that Jim Fletcher, a portfolio manager with more than 25 years of experience, has joined First Republic Private Wealth Management in Newport Beach.

First Republic Private Wealth Management provides customized wealth management solutions, including trust, investment management and brokerage services, to high net worth individuals and families, foundations, endowments, non-profits, and institutions.

The bank has an interesting history. It started as an independent bank in 1985 before being bought in 2007 by Merrill Lynch for $1.7 billion.

At the time Merrill Lynch agreed the company would operate as a stand-alone brand and would retain its name, its management, its headquarters and its client and community focus. But the Merrill-First Republic marriage didn’t last long. When Bank of America bought Merrill, First Republic was part of the package deal. Then as speculation mounted about how B of A would raise much-needed capital to pay the government back for its bailout funds, the banking company announced in October it would sell First Republic to Colony Capital and General Atlantic, two private equity firms, which own just under 50% of the bank, and a group of other investors, including the bank’s chairman, James H. Herbert, and chief operating officer, Katherine August-deWilde.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed though word on the Street is that the transaction was valued at $1 billion. More importantly, the deal allows First Republic to be independent once again.

Fletcher will work with clients to provide customized equity and fixed-income investment management, the company said. A customized client portfolio utilizes both traditional portfolio management and may include outside managers for equity, fixed income, and alternative investments.

Fletcher was first vice president and senior director of portfolio management at BNY Mellon in Newport Beach, Fla.

“Jim Fletcher is a highly respected investment manager who has been very successful in helping clients in Orange County achieve their investment goals,” August-deWilde, said in a press  release. “Jim is part of the growing team of wealth management professionals in Southern California who are committed to listening to clients and creating solutions that specifically meet their needs.”

First Republic has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Boston, Greenwich and New York City. 


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